Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Don't Call Us...















‘Never mind. You were too good for them.’

‘Thanks DarIing. It was the closest I’ve ever been, though, to being ‘headhunted’.’

‘Or maybe you were too tall for them. Remember when we sold the house in Ryton? I did all the viewings because you made the place feel small. No offence, you just did. Were you moving your arms around a lot and gesticulating?’

‘I was quite expressive, yes.’

‘That’s it then. Small room, three normal-sized people and you - flapping about. They probably felt like they were trapped indoors with some kind of large flightless bird.’

‘Well that certainly sheds light on why I might not have got the job. Thanks for your input.’

‘So, what now?’

‘Plan B.’

‘I wasn’t aware there was really a Plan A, as such. But what, then, is plan B?’

‘Writing a bit more.’

‘Not the blog, I hope. That’s pretty pointless.’

‘No, not the blog. A screenplay actually. It’s inspired by that new Steve McQueen film.’

‘Oh, I thought he was dead. Have they recreated him as one of those hologram things – like they do with Elvis?’

‘Not that Steve McQueen. Anyway, it’s a moving narrative and I think it's got potential.’

‘Well go on then, pitch it to me.'

‘OK. It's the about a free man sold into childcare and it's called 'Two Years a Mammy'.’




Wednesday, January 08, 2014

What's in a name?



One of the best things about having a successful namesake is that interesting and successful people with unusual names approach me, in error, on LinkedIn. I get a vicarious sense of the life of my successful namesake and a clear idea of the respect he appears to command in the mining business. The most recent visitor from that intriguing other world was a young American man with the splendid first name of ‘Chase’. 

Chase is an ‘Underground Geologist’ and in his profile picture he gilds the lily a little by being photographed quite literally underground. I then realised that this is the norm in Chase’s field. Most of the people who have endorsed his skills - from ‘logging’ and ’mining’ through to the more prosaic ‘Microsoft Office’ – are posed in bracing outdoor situations in very robust workwear. Most of the people who endorse my rugged skills – from ‘event management’ to ‘newsletters’ – are looking into the distance and trying to look ‘arty’. 

I am toying with the idea of approaching my successful namesake and offering to fill in for him if needs be. I am thoroughly available if, for instance, a luxury hotel and business class travel were booked in his/our name and he couldn’t make it on account of an urgent outdoor/underground meeting with Chase or another expert in the field. It would be a terrible shame to disappoint all of those service staff waiting to attend to the every need of someone bearing his/my name. 

I could, alternatively, relieve the stress of such a high-achiever by simply swapping lives with him for a fortnight. I’m sure I could deliver a prepared presentation or two to mining symposia – as long as the podium was quite a distance from the delegates. There may still be some consternation:

‘My, how he’s changed. Quite grey now and, is it me, or is he a foot taller?’

I think, though, what I would most delight in would be the chance to catch up with Chase in person and to see him in action. He looks so dynamic but, at the same time, quite garrulous. I’m sure I could learn a lot by just hanging out with him - probably underground. I suspect my fitness levels would also be enhanced.

As for my namesake – I’m sure he’d rise to the challenge of Project Managing 3 school runs a day (the youngest is only in for half days this year) and chatting on with the other mothers about school trips and whether it’s really worth hanging the washing out at all at this time of year. My youngest could fully brief him on arrival. She hit the nail on the head just the other day as she assumed the position for me to wipe her bottom after she’d clearly monopolised the fruit bowl at nursery:

‘You get all the best jobs don’t you Dad?!’ 




Tuesday, January 07, 2014

‘Qu'est-ce qu'il y a?’















‘They’ve actually spelled it with a ‘w’ on the end in the classified ad:
‘Lovely mirrow for sale…..’’

Maude almost laughed, but she was still cross. She stood over the bed and pIumped the pillows menacingly.  I persevered and trawled through a recent copy of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle for titbits to amuse her and distract her from the origin of her displeasure.

(I get the Chronicle on a Thursday more out of habit than anything else. It’s the jobs day in the paper, but gone are the days when it would boast ‘800 JOBS!’ on the front cover. It’s now much less precise and flags up ‘Pages of Jobs!’. I await the week when it trumpets ‘JOB!’.)

‘Look at this in The Family Notices. ‘Our Little Treasure, Jade, is 21’, but look at the picture they’ve put in….’

‘Stop trying to change the subject.’

‘…. she’s clearly drunk and look at that dress she’s nearly wearing….’

‘I can’t believe you made me watch that film on Christmas Eve – into the first precious minutes of Christmas day. The most depressing film I think I have ever seen - ever. What was it called again? I need to know, so that I can encourage all right-thinking people to avoid it. ’

‘It was called ‘Amour’. You have to admit that it was intense.’

‘That’s one way to describe it.’

Perhaps Michael Haneke’s tale of an elderly French couple struggling with and failing to manage life with dementia wasn’t the best choice of film for the festive season. I kept a close eye on my wife as she started to plump an already plumped pillow beside me.

‘It’s great to have Netflix on the new TV though isn’t it?’

‘Yes, I can be thoroughly depressed by a big screen, rather than the i-pad.’

‘Apparently, some people in the North East say ‘mirrow’ rather than mirror because they are trying to sound posh:
‘I say ‘winda’, I should say ‘window’. I say ‘shadda’, I should say shadow etc…’

Maude replaced the pillow and turned out my reading light.

‘I knew that already. It’s no longer hilarious.’